On any other Thanksgiving, dozens of Olga Garcia’s family members would squeeze into her home to make tamales, watch football and tell stories. This year, the 61-year-old professional caregiver will deliver food to family spread along 30 miles of the North Cascades Highway in Washington state.

If the plan works, everyone will sit down at the same time to eat in their own homes and join a group phone call.

“We’re going to be wise about this,” Garcia said. “We’re just crossing our fingers that in 2021 we’ll be able to sit down at our table and get crazy again.”

Read more from the Associated Press.

I know many, if not all of you, have been watching this election closely over the past week. We have members of many different political stripes in our Union, and many people and many caregivers are feeling divided. But what unites us is stronger than what divides us, and that is our fight to improve the lives of caregivers, our clients, and our families. Elections are so important to us as a Union because so many decisions impacting caregivers and our clients are made by the politicians we help elect.

Our next president and vice president will be Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Here in Washington, our governor will continue to be Jay Inslee, and we have elected some new champions for caregivers in the legislature. The results are in and now it’s time to get to work.

As President-elect Biden takes office in January, we will be holding him to his Care Force proposal. This plan will build and expand on the victories SEIU 775 caregivers have made over the last 19 years. The plan pledges to:

  • Ensure all caregivers receive a raise and get the pay and benefits we deserve including affordable healthcare and paid sick leave
  • Ensure all caregivers have the right to form a union and collectively bargain, undoing historically racist and exclusionary laws that make it difficult to impossible for some caregivers to have a union.
  • Invest $450 billion to eliminate home care waitlists, expand access to long-term care supports and services, increase wages and benefits, and ensure high quality professional training to caregivers nationwide

And, just as we plan to hold President-elect Biden accountable, we will do the same here in Washington state. We’ve elected strong pro-caregiver legislators, including a historic number of women and Black, Indigenous, and people of color legislators. Our Union’s priorities in the coming legislative session are to stop the DSHS cuts, fund our caregiver contract, and pass progressive revenue – and we’re demanding our legislators’ support.

Caregivers around the state knew what was at stake this election and we took action because we know every caregiver and every person’s voice and vote matters. And with a lot of hard work ahead of us this legislative session, we will continue to take action – while at home or socially distanced in person –because no matter where we are, we’re stronger together.

Sterling Harders
SEIU 775 President

P.S. Please make sure to take care of yourselves during these times. The SEIU 775 Benefits Group provides mental health resources for caregivers.

While running for governor, however, Mr. Gianforte switched course and said that he would not support repeal — an acknowledgment of how popular the law is with the 130,000 Montanans covered by expanded Medicaid and the insurance exchange.

Celeste Thompson, a home health aide and activist in Missoula, is one such Montanan. After the state passed Medicaid expansion under the A.C.A. in 2015, she told me, she was able to buy eyeglasses for the first time in years. Before that, Ms. Thompson had relied on the hospital emergency room and charity-care programs for everything from checkups to cancer treatment.

Read more from The New York Times